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Lockett to continue serving as Wahzhazhe Elections chair, Hazen serving as vice chair

The Wahzhazhe Elections Board meets once monthly and during special and emergency meetings if needed

During the annual election of board officers, the Wahzhazhe Elections Board voted for Shannon Lockett to continue serving another year as chair and Terry Hazen will continue as vice chair.

Lockett and Hazen, both of Fairfax and the Grayhorse District, will serve in the officer posts for the remainder of the 2023 fiscal year. In the event of Lockett’s absence during scheduled meetings, Hazen will serve as acting chair.

On Dec. 13, the two election board members, along with third voting member Belle Wilson and alternate members Anita Fields and Fred Byers, met and discussed the officer elections before the decision.

“Not that it would be impossible, but I am right here, I’m perfectly willing to do it,” Lockett said as they mentioned board member duties, which include providing signatures for board business items. Wilson nominated Lockett for the chair post, which received a 3-0 vote.

Wilson, who lives in Texas and comes from the Hominy District, attended by phone as did Lockett, Hazen and Fields during the meeting. “I’m perfectly fine being a member,” Wilson said as they discussed the vice chair post before a vote.

Lockett nominated Hazen for vice chair, which also received a 3-0 vote.

“Belle will be our distinguished member with Anita and Fred as our wonderful alternates, I’m very happy to have all of you, so thank you everyone for continuing to serve, I really appreciate it and I think (Election Supervisor) Alexis (Rencountre) and (Assistant Election Supervisor) Courtney (Piearcy) do as well,” Lockett said afterward.

According to the Osage election code, an election board member shall recuse him/ herself from board service for that election and an alternate board member shall serve according to provisions of the election code in the event a candidate files who: is an immediate family member of a board member; lives with a board member; or is a partner in a business concern with a board member.

The next Osage Nation General Election will be held in June 2024 when six of 12 Congressional seats will open with each individual to serve a four-year term.

The Wahzhazhe Elections Board meets once monthly and during special and emergency meetings if needed.

For more information on the Nation’s elections or to register or update addresses for voting, and to request absentee ballots, contact the Election Office toll-free at (877) 560-5286 or visit its website at

Benny Polacca

Title: Senior Reporter


Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.


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